An Unconventional Christmas

Manchester kids Christmas family fun

A debate I’ve been enjoying recently is the elf vs the non-elfers, that is between people who enjoy hiding a mischievous little toy elf around the house in various creative and amusing positions to the delight of their children, and those who think it is a massive pain in the arse and there is plenty of Christmas admin to be getting on with without having to think of something to do with a sodding elf, thankyouverymuch.

One of the key points in the debate seems to be tradition. It turns out the elf as we know it and love/loathe it was invented in 2005 and has really only taken off in this country over the last couple of years. But do all traditions have to be old? Or does Christmas even have to be traditional?

We are currently non-elfers in this house, but the debate got me thinking about Christmas things that are maybe not traditional but still loaded with the Christmas spirit we love – if the approach is right, involving lots of fun, generosity and Christmas tunes, then surely anything can be Christmassy in the right context?

So here’s to everyone who has found their own way of doing Christmas. We’d love to hear about your traditions that aren’t necessarily ‘traditional’ and of course take this moment suggest a few events for a slightly off-the-wall Christmas from performers who take tradition, give it a twist and cover it in tinsel and then lob it out the window.

OKS X Drag Queen Story Time, Z-arts

We LOVE the sound of this one form the busy, busy team at Our Kid Social. Exploring the ideas of our uniqueness and individuality through the tale of a lonely snowflake, Divina De Campo will be stealing the spotlight with her story telling prowess before showing off her disco moves on the dance-floor. Shake off the frost, shuffle away the chill, and warm your hearts with an afternoon of fun, laughter and love.

Z-arts, saturday 16 December 2.30-4pm, £5 per adult/child

Festive Ink, People’s History Museum

Inspired by the new Savage Ink exhibition, this regular crafting event invites children to make their own greeting card with a thought-provoking message inspired by rebellious cartoons. Free though a donation of £3 is welcomed.

People’s History Museum, 23 December (exl. 24,25, 26 Dec)- 1 January

Rockin Rhinos’ Christmas Cracker

Shakin’ Stevens is pressing his Christmas Jumper; Chris Rea is checking the oil and putting plenty of De-icer in the car in preparation for his forthcoming trip and Sir Neville Holder is sucking on a Zube and getting ready to shout…IT’S CHRISTMASSSSSSSSSSSSSS! …so it must be time for The Rockin’ Rhinos Christmas Cracker. We loved this last year and this one looks set to be just as good.

MMU, December 17 3.330pm-5.30pm, tickets from £9

The Elf Adventure Challenge

If your kid isn’t into gentle and twee (however much you might wish they were) then the energetic mayhem that is the Elf Adventure Challenge may be for them. Lots of activities before meeting Santa designed to ‘bring back the meaning of Christmas’. Here’s hoping.

Manchester Deansgate and The Ice Cream Farm, Cheshire, running weekends from now until 23 December, some Fridays also available. Please be sure to book ahead as slots are going quickly

Octonauts Christmas at the Sealife Centre

An underwater crew consisting of a bear, penguin, cat and monkey don’t scream Christmas to me, but if you are a die-hard Octonauts fan then I suppose it’s any excuse to party with Barnacles and Tweak… CBeebies’ most intrepid ocean explorers are inviting younger children and their families to take part in a scavenger hunt and answer the Christmas conundrums hidden around the aquarium.

Sealife Centre, from now until 6 January, tickets from £11.50

ComedySportz Improvised Panto, Waterside

Fed up of the same old pantomimes every year? Then get ready for the brand new all ages, all improvised pantomime from the team behind ComedySportz! See all your favourite panto characters in a fabulous new pantomime made up before your eyes with a few favourite ComedySportz gags and games thrown in for good measure. Inspired by your suggestions, no two shows are the same with this alternative festive treat for the whole family to enjoy.

Waterside, 15-16 December 7pm & 3pm, tickets £7 adults, £5 children

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As always, if something on this list has taken your fancy, we highly recommend checking on the links provided to make sure a session hasn’t been moved or cancelled before you travel.


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